The excitement started early. After I told my kids about LEGO KidsFest they asked about 100 times a day about attending. I received passes for my family in exchange for my review, and my two youngest children were totally free. On the day of the event, we traveled nearly two hours and were not sure what to expect. We attended the Pennsylvania LEGO KidsFest PA in the Farm Convention Center. Upon arriving, just a few minutes early, we were surprised to find that there was a $10 cash parking fee. Luckily I had some toll dollars and we set out to find a space.
To our surprise, the lot was nearly full! I was thrilled to find a space and we gathered our crew to head inside. The line was outside of the building. It was chilly and I appreciated our jackets. Once inside, we continued through the line and a security checkpoint. A security person looked through my diaper bag, purse and stroller. Our ticket was then scanned (luckily we printed it) and the ticket scanner quickly scanned the barcode square and waved us through. Once inside, I realized that this was a very crowded event and we needed a gameplan. Luckily, there was a tent set up with Lost Child cards. Each card contained space for a parent's name and phone number, just in case children get lost in the gathering.
As we walked into this crowd of people, we found our stroller difficult to navigate. We opened up our map to try and plan our adventure. We went to a master builder's session and were given tickets to come back over two hours later. In order to manage the crowd, they pass out tickets for the events. We walked around, hoping to take some photos with the big LEGO figures and attractions, only to be deterred by lines. We passed by a reading station and my crew parked their little bottoms on bean bags. They enjoyed LEGO books, that were clearly marked to stay in the reading area.
Once we finished reading, we decided to look for something to do. I headed to the bathroom to change my baby...and was disappointed to discover that it was not infant-ready. There was one changing table and it folded down over a toilet and needed a cleaning. I opted-out of changing him there and was glad to have double stuffed his cloth diaper. We passed by several attractions, but were deterrerd by the lines. We wanted immediate interaction with LEGOs and found some activity tables. Our favorite stations were the build-a-car and the Star Wars.
Activities in the event primarily include LEGO tables. Picture a convention center filled with sectioned off activity tables. Each section has a different LEGO theme and parts. We spent most of our time at the build-a-car station. My boys were really excited to build a car, but were extremely disappointed to learn that the car they spent a lot of time building couldn't come home with us. I felt that, for the ticket price, there should have been some item to take home, or even pay a few extra dollars to take home their creations. It was very disappointing to leave their creations behind.
Overall impression? I would return to the event. While hubby and I were very stressed out with the big crowds, disorganization and difficulty getting to activities...our kids had a fantastic time. After about two hours, and losing sight of one of my sons for a few moments...we decided to leave the event and head to Target to purchase some LEGOs at home. While I received my passes for reviewing the event on social media, I felt that if I had paid $20 each I would be even more disappointed about not being able to take any of the items the kids made home. Even if it was a few dollars more, the boys really wanted to take home the race cars they spent a great deal of time making. My suggesions?
- Make it clear to the kiddos before entering the event that, as the signs say, "No Brick" may leave the event.
- Dress your family in a similar colored shirt, so you can find each other in the crowd, and make sure to fill out the Lost Parent's cards.
- Bee-Line to event stations and get your tickets early. Otherwise, it may be hours before you can get into a master builder's session.
- If you're traveling with little ones, change baby in the car because, as we learned, there may be no place to change a diaper or care for a baby inside. I am a breastfeeding Mom and where I go...baby goes!
- Take your LilleBaby carrier! This made carrying my 3 m/o around effortless and I was able to attend to my older children while he sat safely on my chest.
- Move the event home! Take the excitement to your home (as we did) by making a LEGO station for imaginative builders to get creative anytime.
- Carry cash for surprise parking fees and wear sneakers in case you're parked far from the event.